Michelle and Werner Links are a wonderful couple with a passion for the Gospel, as well as a rich revelation of the love of God in their lives. After receiving a word from the Lord, The Love Church (TLC) was born. This couple desires to share the divine love of the Father and manage to do so with a powerful outreach team and a deep conviction of their task.
We interviewed Werner and Michelle to find out when their paths crossed and how God brought them into ministry.
Becoming a man of God
Werner grew up in a humble home, in a poverty-stricken area. At the age of twelve, he boldly assumed the task of breadwinner through casual work when his father passed away. Through this struggle he managed to matriculate and continued to apply himself in a stable job. Three years later, burdened by the suicide of a friend, Werner happened to come across an open-air church meeting. He accepted salvation that day and grew from faith to faith with the guidance of Christian mentors.
Desperate for something more
Years later, Werner met his wife, Michelle, a beautiful godly woman. She had come to faith after many years of rebellion, triggered by unresolved childhood issues. Eventually the day came when she was no longer interested in meaningless parties and relationships. She cried out to God, desperate for a change in her lifestyle. “I longed for something more. There was a void in my life and I decided to give Jesus a chance.”
Michelle retells her memory of the night she got saved: “I believe my mother played a pivotal role in my salvation. She prayed for me and loved me unconditionally in the midst of my rebellious behaviour. She never gave up on me.”
Hearing the Lord’s voice
Werner and Michelle have now been married for eight years. They felt the urgency to start a church in Cape Town after God spoke to them through supernatural confirmations, dreams and visions. In March 2011, with the help of the Lord and a great team of co-workers, The Love Church was launched and their incredible journey started.
Werner shares how they decided on the name: “The instruction from Scripture was to build a house for God and therefore God’s name had to be placed on the house. I searched the Bible. The Old Testament there are many covenant names for God, yet in the New Testament in 1 John 4:8 the Word declares that “God is Love.” Therefore the name means ‘The Lord’s Church.”
Every task comes with its own set of challenges and Werner and Michelle experienced trials when they launched TLC. “My greatest challenge was that when we started the church, we had many who questioned the Word God gave us and even criticised us. We have learned that when you have God’s approval on a matter and a Word from Him, it is important to obey the Lord and not people.”
Werner goes on to share the Bible story of Joseph and how even when his brothers tried to kill him, (because they thought his dream was ridiculous) God saved him. “People can never kill the dream that God has for you. “
“The way I stay focused is to remind myself that Jesus saved my soul and that what I am doing is not for people but for Him. I must be driven by eternity and not just the temporary things.”
The vision to love
The vision of TLC is based on Matthew 22:36-40: “Love the Lord with all your heart...and love your neighbour as yourself.” The church therefore strives to take the love of God they have experienced and demonstrate it to every person they meet. When one looks at TLC, you can definitely see the fruits of their labour.
Michelle’s conviction is that: “every person longs for the touch of God’s divine love, even those who don’t know or believe in Him. God sees that need and deeply loves each and every one, but He needs us (the Church) to be His hands, feet and voice to convey His love and concern. That is the role that we have adopted at The Love Church.”
A demonstration of His love
TLC currently run a feeding programme called ‘Demonstrate His Love’ based on Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Through this project they feed people inside the church as well as outside in the community.
Werner elaborates: “We have also adopted two orphanages in the Eersteriver area. As a congregation families have cared for children through paying their school fees, purchasing stationery, toiletries and clothing.
We have also embraced an Old Age Home in the Bellville area where we minister on a regular basis and help provide them with a few
Caring for the destitute
Their work into the community doesn’t end there and if you visit a primary school in Parow, you are likely to find TLC members feeding the children. The teachers have testified as to how the feeding project has helped in improving the concentration of the students.
TLC is involved in regular outreaches, ministry at the local night-shelter, praying with those in hospital as well as being prepared to pray with people and share God’s love at any possible opportunity.
Werner and Michelle voice their passion for helping the community: “We believe that God has anointed the Church to bring answers and direction to communities in desperate need. We remain relevant in society by staying practical in demonstrating the love of Jesus so that the world cannot deny that God is real and alive.”
Their goal is to be able to give people a solution rather than just fixing the problem temporarily. We’ve all heard the saying: “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”
This genuine and lasting ministry into the community is selfless and evident of the Father’s unconditional love.
Michelle shared with us some of the pressures of being a in ministry: “I’ve learnt to cope with people’s expectations by filtering it through the Word of God. In Genesis 2:18 God makes a helper for man. My aim is to do just that, to help and support my husband and together make an impact in our community, city and nation.
We have the same vision and our hearts desire is to see lives changed and to demonstrate the love of God at any cost.”
“Passive” is not a word used to describe Michelle and Werner. In them we see leaders that are active and compassionate. They have a heart to branch their church into different communities and their impact will surely cultivate more followers of Jesus!
The Love Church is based in Bellville, Cape Town and from the 10th of March, in Parow Valley. www.thelovechurch.co.za
By- Jenna-lea Kelland